DULUTH, Ga. – Georgia credit unions came in for some special TVexposure last month in a statewide Public Broadcasting System showrequested by Georgia Credit Union Affiliates as a way to help pumpup the CU message. “This was a great vehicle to present a favorableimpression of credit unions to the public,” explained CindyConnelly, senior vice president-advocacy for the Georgia League.Appearing on the 30-minute “Georgia Business Report” July 23 wasMike Mercer, president/CEO of the League, who was interviewed byRichard Warner, a PBS moderator, acting as co-host. The topicsranged from the structure of CUs, the differences between banks andCUs and the steps to take in joining a CU. “We've always done lotsof radio but not that much TV, so this was an excellent means ofreaching out to the public,” said Connelly noting the while herboss “is excellent as a spokesman for credit unions, he hasn'tappeared a whole lot on TV.” M.J. Kabaci, public relationsspecialist for the League, said she got the idea to request anappearance since she and her husband are regular viewers of theshow which airs every Friday and covers business and financial newsplus economic forecasts, workforce developments and industryprofiles. “According to the producers,” said Kabaci, “women are theprimary demographic of the show, so we hoped it encouraged them, asbusinesswomen, to learn more about the benefits of credit unionmembership and make it available for themselves and theiremployees.” Kabaci said she had written the Georgia PBS producersin June and within a month had received approval for Mercer toappear. The show was aired on the nine stations that make up thePBS network in the state. In his remarks, Mercer cited the coopnature of CUs, noting that members receive “more than $6 billion intangible benefits according to CUNA, distributed in lower loanrates, higher savings and lower fees.” Mercer told viewers thatthere are 210 CUs in the state with $12 billion in assets serving1.8 million members, and he estimated that 90% of Georgians areeligible to join at least one CU. Warner, the interviewer, askedMercer to describe specific products offered at CUs and exactly howpeople could join a CU, said Connelly. Mercer also gave a plug forCU Match Up, a search engine on the League Website that helpsidentify CUs for potential members. Kabaci said Georgia CEOs werealerted to the time and date of the show and so far reaction fromthe public has been “slow,” though League officials stress thatthis is a long-term media project. One individual who did watch theshow was NCUA Region 3 Director Alonzo Swan, who happened to be inthe League offices after the airing and remarked that he is aregular viewer. “There was lots of kidding about Mike putting onhis makeup,” laughed Connelly. “It was a great opportunity for usto have this kind of program aired,” said Connelly. It wasuncertain when or if there would be a repeat anytime soon. –[email protected]

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